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David Wentzell Creates Things That Move

New Anderson Artists Guild member David Wentzell worked in a screen printing shop in high school, an experience that impacted much of his life.

When he was drafted at age 19 during the Vietnam War, his knowledge of printing led to being stationed in Honolulu, where he was needed to print maps. “In 1968, there was no GPS,” he said. “Troops relied on paper maps.”

After two years, he used the GI bill to complete a psychology degree at the University of Wisconsin. “I was hoping for work in psychology, but a bachelor’s degree doesn’t carry a lot of weight, so I went back to what I was experienced in,” he said. He, an Army friend, and his wife, Leslie (also an AAG member), ran a graphic arts printing business for 30 years. He enjoyed the variety and the interactions with the public.

After selling the business, he and his wife moved to the Florida Panhandle, where Wentzell did handyman jobs and worked for the U.S. Census Bureau for several years. He went door to door to interview people in a four-county area about topics such as crime in their households, neighborhoods, and workplaces, as well as general census data. The cold calling was intimidating at first, but ultimately he enjoyed it. “Most people were very nice,” he said. “Those that weren’t, they weren’t cruel; they just didn’t want to participate, and that was fine.”

Wentzell has always enjoyed making things out of wood, metal, and glass. One of his biggest accomplishments took seven years to complete: building an airplane. As it grew, he moved the work in progress from his basement to the back of the print shop to the airport. “Aviation is one of my passions,” he said. “It was a fulfilling project.”

He also creates sculptures and abstract pieces such as motorized glass pentaspheres that hang from the ceiling and spin. “I love to do things that require motion,” he said.

The Wentzells moved to Anderson in December and are converting their garage into a studio. Then they can continue to work on a six-by-three-foot glass, metal, and ceramic piece for their son’s veterinary practice in California.


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